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72938Re: [Z_Scale]

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  • Alan Cox
    Jun 14, 2013
      On Fri, 14 Jun 2013 07:39:41 -0500
      Rick Saviano <saviano@...> wrote:

      > Not to get political, but it's more like they want to run the
      > non-Chinese mold makers out of business. That's what happened to the
      > U.S. clothing industry.

      It's simply a matter of their wage bills being much much lower than very
      expensive US labour. That is changing rapidly because China is rapidly
      building a middle class of its own and they also want flat screen
      televison, nice cars and the rest of it.

      Quite a lot of clothing has been moving back the other way. Some of our
      model companies in the UK are doing more of their work here as well, and
      Hornby (our biggest model brand) is moving about 10% more of its
      production back to the UK.

      Plus you need to remember that in some cases (eg Bachmann) it's a Chinese
      company in the first place - they merely outsource some business to the
      USA ;-)

      Europe does have a fair number of people doing tooling and moulding work,
      or you can do your own. There is nothing intrinsically "magic" about
      plastic moulding that requires massive production lines. In fact I know
      people who cut plastic kit tooling and run them in their shed. They are
      CNC cutting rather electro-eroding so the quality is a tiny shade lower
      but its rare that matters.

      Pad printing is also widely available because it's not a 'speciality' -
      there are people pad printing everything imaginable all over the world.
      Again it's not a speciality art - the machinery is not that cheap but it
      is available off the shelf, and Europe is full of people who will run pad
      print jobs.

      3D print is also beginning to change the rules. although we are not quite
      at the critical point (which is going to be a $10K printer with
      acceptable media costs at Shapeways FUD range of quality). It'll get
      there and that plus home CNC kit will change the world. Z is also ideal
      for such technology because the costs are heavily based on material
      volume. Z is big enough the features are printable, small enough to be
      cheap, N likewise. By the time you hit HO it's incredibly expensive 8)

      I mostly do N these days but a lot of my recent stock is stuff I designed
      and built from a mix of 3D print, cut vinyl, etching and other
      technologies. Much more fun than buying little boxes from shops.

      You don't need to buy pre-assembled little plastic trains from China, you
      have a choice.

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